PERFORMANCE UPDATE – USS DIAMOND BEARINGS
Tough Service for the Original Bearing
A chemical plant installed a US Synthetic diamond bearing in a mixer earlier this year. We recently received a performance update on the machine and the bearing solution.
This particular mixer handles a very difficult process for a product-lubricated bearing. The process fluid is hot, abrasive and has low viscosity, leading to marginal lubrication conditions. As you can see in the photo (right), the original bearings in this machine suffered catastrophic damage to the point where the bearing would shear in half. The life of the bearing until this occurred was generally less than 6 months. Because the plant wanted much longer life, they upgraded the machine with a US Synthetic® (USS) diamond bearing set supplied by Boulden.
Polycrystalline Diamond (PCD) Bearings
USS diamond bearings were originally designed for downhole drilling tool applications where they have been widely used for over 20 years. Diamond bearings can handle just about any abrasive product. Outside of drilling applications, USS bearings are ideal product-lubricated bearings for pumps, mixers, agitators, or other rotating machines. Synthetic diamond is the hardest substance on earth; therefore, both rotating and stationary elements are fabricated with the synthetic diamond bearing elements (the round black circles on the components). The contact in the bearing is solid polycrystalline diamond vs. solid polycrystalline diamond. Unlike typical ceramic bearings, these components are durable with good impact resistance. They also have very low friction and excellent heat dissipation. In addition to having excellent abrasion resistance, these bearings can also handle high temperatures, poor lubricity, most chemicals, and rough operational conditions often experienced in rotating machines.
Results So Far
The USS bearing set (right) has now been running for nearly 8 months with no degradation in mixer vibration, noise, or performance. A recent site inspection with a borescope suggests that the bearing is still in excellent condition. In a few months, there will be a plant shutdown and a full inspection of the machine where we will hopefully obtain “after one year” photos. In any case, the performance to date is already far superior to the original bearing.
If you have a machine with a difficult product-lubricated bearing application, Contact Boulden today. We can help you solve even the toughest problems with the help from our partners at US Synthetic.